Can't say as I feel sorry for this pinhead...nope. Not one bit.
Man must pay $489,000 after false distress call
A couple of years ago, Danik Kumar of Sandusky, Ohio, thought that it would be cool to call the Coast Guard and report seeing a fishing boat with four people on board sending up flares on Lake Erie as he was flying a small plane overhead. Both the US and Canadian Coast Guard responded, mobilizing 70 people and sending out three boats, a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft to search. Eventually they called it off, and when they pressed Kumar, he finally admitted that he lied and said that he kept reporting it because he didn't want to sound stupid and ruin his chances of becoming a Coast Guard aviator.
Well it's probably a safe bet that he'll never get that job, especially after he was convicted of making a false distress call, after which the judge sentenced him to three months in jail and ordered him to pay a whopping $277,000 to the U.S. Coast Guard and $212,000 to the Canadian Coast Guard to cover the cost of their Search and Rescue efforts.
And like everyone who takes full responsibility for their actions, Kumar appealed this sentence to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, arguing that it was too harsh. But bless that 6th Circuit, as they came back with a 2-1 ruling that said that although the ruling is "an onerous burden on the shoulders of a young man," U.S. law was intended to deal harshly with hoaxes to help deter future ones.
The government's prosecutor, Michelle Baeppler, argued that Kumar needed to be held responsible for every cost associated with the search, from the gas used in the boats and aircraft to maintenance and depreciation costs incurred from their use.
"His claim that he should only have to pay for a few items ... is truly a simplistic and naive notion of the cost involved in conducting a search and rescue operation," Baeppler wrote.
And that's the honest truth. What if one of the Coast Guardsman had been injured or died during this search for someone who was never in trouble? What if someone else called for real help and died because the Coast Guard was out of position? How do you put a price tag on that sort of loss? That's why the penalty for this sort of stuff is meant to be a swift kick in the junk--to make the next guy think twice before faking a distress call.
Still, Kumar's lawyer, Edmund Searby, sheds tears for him, because in liberal lawyer-land, people like Kumar are the victims, not society. Searby said Kumar had to drop out of Bowling Green State University's aviation program and is figuring out what to do next.
"Danik's dream has long been to be a pilot, but it's unclear now whether that dream can be realized," Searby said. "I'd hate for it to end like this."
Speaking as a pilot and one who frequently flies over that part of Lake Erie, I'm not bothered by this guy not being able to occupy the same airspace as me. I depend on that same Coast Guard should I ever have trouble on those flights, and while I hope that I never have to call upon them, I'd hate to think that if I ever needed to reach out to them for a quick response that they were busy elsewhere chasing shadows cast by some punk kid for kicks.
Yeah, it's a heck of a fine he's got to pay, but then again, stupid is supposed to hurt.